Missing MH370: Najib calling leaders to help in search for aircraft

PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is calling leaders of various countries to seek their assistance in the search for Flight MH370.

The Prime Minister said he had spoken to leaders in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, India, Australia, Vietnam and China.

He said on his Facebook page that he would continue making calls to the countries that needed to be roped in for the search as the area had been widened.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the search and rescue operations for the plane, which carried 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese nationals, remained the top priority, reported China Daily.

"Though search areas keep expanding and difficulties ahead are increasing, as long as there's a slim chance, we will not give up," Li told Najib.

Li said China had deployed more than 10 vessels and several aircraft apart from mobilising 21 satellites to support the search.

Li called on Malaysia to provide more comprehensive, accurate and timely information to narrow down the scope and draw up new search plans.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot responded to Najib's request by re-deploying two of its AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft to the southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysia Airlines hunts for missing plane

"Earlier today (yesterday) the Prime Minister of Malaysia telephoned me to update the Australian Government on the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370," he said in a statement.

Abbot said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority would take the lead in coordinating in the southern Indian Ocean, adding that an Orion aircraft had commenced searching the ocean to the north and west of the Cocos Islands.

Malaysia had requested Australia to assume overall responsibility for coordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean.

According to a The Times of India report, Najib called India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday seeking technical help from India to corroborate the possible paths taken by MH370.

Bernama cited the report that Indian High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur T.S. Tirumurti and the Indian defence attache had attended a meeting with top Malaysian officials to strategise the future course of the investigation.

The report also said Najib called Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif with the similar request as Pakistan could have been on the flight path of the diverted plane.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Nguyen Hong Thao said his government would work closely with the Malaysian Government to identify the most necessary measure to deal with the search mission.

"The government of Vietnam sent military forces and the people of Vietnam participated in the early search and rescue operation," Bernama quoted him as saying after making a courtesy call on Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.